Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

CASA 30/07 Approvals as made
This Direction states that it is a condition of a private operation that the operator and pilot in command must not use a night vision device as the primary means of terrain avoidance for safe air navigation by means of visual surface reference external to an aircraft.
Administered by: DOTARS
Exempt from sunsetting by the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 s 54(2) item 9
Registered 20 Feb 2007
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR26-Feb-2007
Tabled Senate26-Feb-2007
Date of repeal 25 Aug 2007
Repealed by CASA 288/07 - Direction - use of night vision devices prohibited in private operations

Explanatory Statement

Civil Aviation Regulations 1988

Direction — use of night vision devices prohibited in private operations

 

Legislation

Section 98 of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Act) empowers the Governor-General to make regulations for the Act and the safety of air navigation.

 

Under subregulation 209 (1) of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR 1988), the operator and the pilot in command of an aircraft engaged in a private operation must comply with the provisions of CAR 1988 and with such additional conditions as CASA from time to time directs in the interests of safety.

 

Background

Night vision goggles (NVG) for night flying are used extensively in the highly trained and disciplined arena of military aviation operations, including in the Australian Defence Force. Without high grade training and standards, the use of NVG in Australian civil aviation operations is contentious.

 

Before Civil Aviation Order 82.0 Amendment Order (No. 1) 2007 (the Amendment Order) was made, there was no express and unambiguous prohibition of the civilian use of NVG in helicopters or other aircraft. It was likely, however, that such use, occurring outside an environment of proper training, proficiency, checking, standardisation and air traffic control awareness, constituted reckless operation of an aircraft under section 20A of the Act.

 

However, in recent years, military-trained NVG pilots and other crew members have been entering the Australian civil aviation environment and certain commercial operators have expressed an interest in exploiting NVG technology. This is particularly the case in emergency-type, specialised helicopter operations where low flight at night is required. These operations include emergency medical services, search and rescue, law enforcement, aerial fire fighting and marine pilot transfer.

 

CASA proposes to conduct a 12 month trial of NVG by approved aerial work operators in emergency-type operations. However, until the results of this trial have been collected and assessed, CASA considers that, in the interests of safety, NVG should not be used in private operations.

 

Direction

To ensure that this is the case for the duration of the trial, CASA has issued the direction that it is a condition of a private operation that the operator and pilot in command must not use a night vision device as the primary means of terrain avoidance for safe air navigation by means of visual surface reference external to an aircraft.

 

A night vision device includes the most obvious form of this equipment, namely NVG. However, it has been necessary to use a broader definition than merely NVG to ensure that other similar devices are also covered. Thus, a night vision device means night vision enhancement equipment fitted to, or mounted in or on, an aircraft, or worn by a person in the aircraft, that can detect and amplify light in both the visual and near infra-red bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, or provide an artificial image representing topographical displays.

 

The direction does not apply to an operator in a private operation that is directly related to an operation for which approval was given to use a night vision device. Thus, for example, the instrument does not apply to private operations in the form of certain in-house night vision device training and checking under a CASA approval issued under subsection 3D of Civil Aviation Order 82.0 (inserted by the Amendment Order).

 

For the purposes of the 12 month trial, approvals under subsection 3D of Civil Aviation Order 82.0 will only be issued to approved aerial work operators in emergency-type operations.

 

At the conclusion of the trial, CASA will consider whether, and if so under what conditions, it would be safe to permit use of NVG or other night vision devices for navigational purposes in private operations.

 

Legislative Instruments Act

The direction is considered to be a legislative instrument for section 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 (the LIA). It is, therefore, subject to tabling and disallowance in the Parliament under sections 38 and 42 of the LIA.

 

Consultation

Consultation under section 17 of the LIA has been undertaken in this case with the specialised aviation industry, particularly, the Helicopter Association of Australia, for the purposes of developing a trial of NVG. Private operators are not suitable for participation in such a trial.

 

Broader consultation is not necessary as the direction is in essence designed to remove any residual ambiguity about whether NVG may be used in private operations without some CASA oversight or approval.

 

Making, registration and commencement

The instrument comes into effect on the day after it is registered.

 

The instrument has been made by the Director of Aviation Safety on behalf of CASA, in accordance with subsection 84A (2) of the Act.

 

[Instrument number CASA 30/2007]